Italians have mastered the art of preparing artichokes, a springtime delicacy that have been celebrated since Roman times.
Artichokes (carciofi) are loved for their tender leaves and delicious, meaty heart. Once you learn the simple preparation tricks, you’ll want to enjoy them in as many ways possible. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Stuffed Artichokes
Often referred to as Sicilian or Southern style, stuffed artichokes make for a stunning first course or side dish. Large whole artichokes are first simmered, drained and then stuffed with a mixture of bread crumbs, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano PDO. or Grano Padano PDO, chopped fresh parsley and then drizzled with Italian extra virgin olive before being browned in the oven.
Prep Tip: Trim Technique
Cut the top off the artichoke and pull off the tough outer leaves. Cut the stem down to the base and trim remaining leaves for a prettier presentation. Finally, scoop out the choke – the inedible fibrous, furry strands on top of the heart – with a spoon.
2. Shaved Artichoke Salad
Young, tender artichokes (carciofini) can be shaved or thinly sliced and served raw (if they’re really small, you won’t even need to remove the choke). Dress with Italian extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and serve with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano PDO.
Prep Tip: Prevent Browning
Place prepared artichokes in a large bowl of lemon water to prevent browning; you can also rub lemon directly on to sliced artichokes.
3. Sautéed Baby Artichokes
Small artichokes are trimmed and sliced in half, blanched in water and then sautéed with garlic, Italian preserved anchovies, dried red chilis and Italian extra virgin olive oil.
Also Try: Marinated Italian artichoke hearts are available in jars packed with Italian extra virgin olive oil and seasonings. They’re ideal for topping antipasto platters, salads, and pizza and blending into dips.